Wynn Helms, M.A.

What is EMDR

What is EMDR?


“When a disturbing event occurs, it can get locked in the brain with the original picture, sounds, thoughts, feelings and body sensations. EMDR seems to stimulate the information and allows the brain to reprocess the experience. That may be what is happening in REM or dream sleep. The eye movements (tones, tactile) may help to reprocess the frozen material. It is your own brain that will be doing the healing and you are the one in control.”

Along with traditional psychotherapy, my work includes EMDR—Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. EMDR is an approach that uses side-to-side eye movement to stimulate the release of painful memories. Disturbing memories become fragmented in your brain. Instead of working together, imagine the right side of the brain—the emotional side, and the left side of the brain—the thinking side, functioning independently of each other.

All the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and tactile elements would be stored in disconnected places of your brain. This is what happens during a traumatic event. Unpleasant thoughts get stuck in your memory because the fragmented senses have not been integrated and released. The result is an involuntary, negative reaction triggered by a sound or smell or thought that you associate with a negative experience.

EMDR seems to reintegrate all the sensations of a difficult event and in the process release the feelings and sensations associated with it. After working with EMDR, you can recall the event without necessarily reliving it.